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  1. Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Newport: Red Onions (July 2020)

Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or products containing recalled onions

The FDA, along with CDC, Canadian, state, and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. FDA’s traceback investigation is ongoing but has identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA as a likely source of potentially contaminated red onions.

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped nationwide from May 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020, sold under the following brand names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.

Recalls have also been initiated by companies that sold onions or products containing the recalled onions. FDA has published a list of Recalls of Food Products Associated with Onions from Thomson International, Inc. and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has published a list of Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products Containing Recalled Onions. These recall lists will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Recommendations

Advice for consumers, restaurants, and retailers: Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or products containing recalled onions. If you cannot tell if your onion is part of the recall, or your food product contains recalled onions, you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and should throw it out.

FDA recommends that anyone who received or suspects having received recalled onions, or products containing recalled onions, use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with recalled products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators, and storage bins.

Consumers who have symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider. Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Suppliers and Distributors: Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not use, ship or sell recalled onions from Thomson International, Inc. or food products containing recalled onions. Suppliers and distributors that re-package raw onions should use extra vigilance in cleaning any surfaces and storage areas that may have come into contact with recalled onions. If there has been potential cross contamination or mixing of onions from other sources with recalled onions, suppliers and distributors should discard all comingled and potentially cross-contaminated product.

Investigation Update

August 18, 2020

The FDA investigation at Thomson International, Inc. ongoing. As part of the root cause investigation at Thomson International, Inc., FDA is collecting and analyzing product, water, and environmental samples.

Following the recall from Thomson International, Inc., additional products containing recalled onions have been identified and recalled. Available recall information is included below and will be updated as more products are identified and recalled.


Recall Information

Recalled Onions

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020. Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Recalls have also been initiated by companies that sold onions or products containing recalled onions.

Case Count Map Provided by CDC

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Newport: Red Onions - August 31, 2020 Case Count Map Provided by CDC

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 1,012
Hospitalizations: 136
Deaths: 0
Last Estimated Illness Onset: 8/11/2020
States with Cases: AK (21), AL (1), AZ (35), AR (2), CA (122), CO (26), CT (2), DE (2), FL (8), GA (11), HI (3), ID (37), IL (54), IN (3), IA (26), KS (2), KY (1), ME (6), MD (7), MA (2), MI (47), MN (18), MS (4), MO (11), MT (63), NE (10), NV (11), NH (1), NJ (8), NM (1), NY (10), NC (6), ND (9), OH (11), OR (101), PA (22), RI (3), SC (1), SD (23), TN (7), TX (2), UT (110), VA (10), WA (117), WV (2), WI (10), WY (23)

Previous Updates

August 7, 2020

The FDA has initiated an investigation at Thomson International, Inc. to learn more about the potential source of contamination. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Following the recall from Thomson International, Inc., additional products containing recalled onions have been identified and recalled.

August 3, 2020

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a genetic fingerprint closely related to the U.S. outbreak.

Investigators in the U.S. and Canada have been collaborating to identify the source of this outbreak. On July 30, 2020, Canadian health officials announced that they had determined red onions from the U.S. to be the potential source of the Canadian outbreak. The Canadian investigation has also prompted a recall warning by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Building on this information, and on epidemiologic information on the U.S. outbreak from CDC, the FDA’s traceback investigation was able to identify Thomson International, Inc. as a likely source of contaminated red onions in the U.S.

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 to present.

July 31, 2020

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that have a genetic fingerprint closely related to the U.S. outbreak.

Investigators in the U.S. and Canada have been collaborating to identify the source of this outbreak. On July 30, 2020, Canadian health officials announced that they had determined red onions from the U.S. to be the potential source of the Canadian outbreak. The Canadian investigation has also prompted a recall warning by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Building on this information, and on epidemiologic information on the U.S. outbreak from CDC, the FDA’s traceback investigation was able to identify Thomson International, Inc. as a likely source of contaminated red onions in the U.S.


Who to Contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can

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